A young grizzly bear in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.

A young grizzly bear in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.

Inquiry on protecting grizzlies comes to Rupert

A newly-formed organization dedicated to the prosperity of B.C. grizzly bears stopped in Prince Rupert last month

A newly-formed organization dedicated to the prosperity of B.C. grizzly bears stopped in Prince Rupert last month as part of an inquiry on how people in the province view the majestic creations.

The Grizzly Bear Foundation (GBF), a charitable organization, was formed to promote the long-lasting survival of the bears in B.C. The aim of GBF is to present research, provide education and help with conservation efforts through programming.

The foundation launched an inquiry in September to collect public input on the status and future of grizzly bears in the province, and the measures needed now and later on to ensure their longtime survival.

“One of the first things we wanted to do was consult with people around the province about what extent they care about the grizzly bears and what they feel the issues are,” said  Michael Audain, chairman of the Grizzly Bear Foundation.

GBF hosted a number of meetings around the province to gather feedback in the past month, with Prince Rupert being one of its last stops on Oct. 19.

About 10 individuals attended Prince Rupert’s meeting to share their thoughts on various topics, including the loss of habitat and scarcities of food sources, concerns with trophy hunting, co-existing with grizzlies in their environment and more.

The foundation has also been consulting with scientists, government officials, conservation organizations, First Nations communities and other interested groups as part of its inquiry.

“We’re just collecting as much information as we can right now,” said Audain.

A report highlighting all of the input collected throughout the inquiry and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the animals will be prepared, and is expected to be released in February 2017.

This information will help GBF initiate programs around B.C. to promote the preservation of grizzly bears.

“Bears aren’t necessarily enemies and we must share the land with grizzly bears,” Audain said, noting there are effective ways to protect both livestock and prevent human interaction with the bears.